Prospective Study of Displaced Children's Symptoms in Wartime Bosnia

Published in: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, v. 34, no. 9, Oct. 1999, p. 464-469

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1998

by Bradley D. Stein, D Comer, W Gardner, Kelly Kelleher

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BACKGROUND: This study examines the psychological symptoms of Bosnian children exposed to war and trauma, and detects changes in these symptoms over time. METHOD: A total of 147 displaced children residing in refugee centers in Bosnia completed self-report assessments of anxiety, depressive, and posttraumatic stress symptoms at two time points. RESULTS: Symptoms of posttraumatic stress, anxiety, and depression showed a greater decrease in boys relative to girls over time. CONCLUSION: Gender may be an important factor in the natural course of trauma-related symptoms among war traumatized children. Further research is needed to better understand the psychological effects of war trauma on children, and the natural course of posttraumatic symptoms, so as to improve interventions targeted to this vulnerable population.

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